In a momentous announcement, Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman have been jointly honored with the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their groundbreaking discoveries that paved the way for the development of highly effective mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines.
The Nobel Prize organization shared the news on X (formerly Twitter), stating, “The 2023 #NobelPrize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman for their discoveries concerning nucleoside base modifications that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19.”
The laureates’ remarkable findings have led to the approval of two remarkably successful mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines in late 2020, with these vaccines playing a pivotal role in saving countless lives and averting severe disease.
The Nobel Assembly emphasized that the discoveries by Karikó and Weissman were of utmost importance in the development of effective mRNA vaccines during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The laureates’ work has fundamentally transformed our understanding of how mRNA interacts with the human immune system. Their research revealed that base-modified mRNA can be employed to inhibit the activation of inflammatory responses while increasing protein production when delivered into cells.
The Nobel Assembly also noted that Karikó and Weissman initially published their groundbreaking findings in a seminal 2005 paper, which received limited attention at the time. However, this work laid the essential foundation for subsequent developments that proved invaluable to humanity during the COVID-19 crisis.
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